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Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Team Fariko wins the first Call of Duty Championship


Fariko Impact wins $400,000 for playing games good
Apr 09
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Team Fariko Impact won big after three days of intense Call of Duty: Black Ops II multiplayer action in the first ever Call of Duty Championship. 32 teams from around the world came together to battle it out, with the ultimat...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Million dollar Call of Duty tournament begins today


Watch a bunch of dudes win money by playing a freaking game
Apr 05
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The Call of Duty Championship kicks off today and sees teams from all around the world competing for up to $1 million dollars in prizes. The tournament begins with a ceremony starting at 12PM Pacific, and then the 32 teams go...
MLG Winter Championship photo
MLG Winter Championship

First MLG competition of the year begins next week


StarCraft II, League of Legends, and....Black Ops II?
Mar 06
// Patrick Hancock
MLG's Winter Championship will begin on March 15 and run until the 17, with $170,000 worth of prize money up for grabs. The featured games are StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, League of Legends, and Black Ops II. MLG sure is...

Trends of this Generation: The Rise of eSports

Feb 14 // Daniel Starkey
Competitive, head-to-head gaming has been around for quite some time. Since the invention of arcade culture and games like Wolfenstein in the early '90s, it has seen a steady increase in popularity among core gamers. In the past couple of years though, especially since the introduction of massive online battle arena, or MOBA games, the sheer number of players taking part has increased dramatically. According to some statistics that are only a few months old, League of Legends, a free-to-play MOBA, is now the most popular online game. Each day there are over 12 million people logging in to play LoL, and with nearly 30 million monthly active players, the game eclipses other industry juggernauts like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. Each month, there are over one billion hours of play put into LoL -- that's roughly equivalent to half the hours logged in the entire history of the Halo franchise. It is entirely possible that at any given point, LoL is the most played game in the world. These numbers alone are certainly impressive, but when viewed within the trend among the rest of the gaming industry, it becomes pretty clear that competitive gaming in general, and eSports specifically, is definitely on the rise.  The real power of sports is in the dynamic narrative, the creation of new stories, conflicts between countries or cities that inspire audiences and give them a stake in the outcome. eSports has traditionally had a hard time garnering the same following, and the same sense of intrinsic drama. Twitch.TV and the proliferation of easy-to-use streaming software and platforms have been a boon for accessibility, however. Personalities like Day9 have given eSports that sense of dramatic tension, and helped bring an understanding and a fluency to the games these people play that we simply haven't seen before. By making the games easier to understand, more and more players and audiences have been able to learn about the history of different teams, their rivalries, their conflicts, and what they've had to do to succeed; though that doesn't even tap the sheer ease of learning the rules of these games, or the intricacies of higher-level play. Competitive games still have a long way to go before they see the kind of mainstream adoption as something like American football, tennis, or soccer, but their rapid expansion has led to something of a revolution in gaming. These days, unless your game's on a console, there's an excellent chance that it's free-to-play and built from the ground up to fit into the growing niche of eSports players. At the very least, this new system directly challenges the current understanding of what makes a top-selling game. When grizzled heavyweights like Call of Duty and Halo don't see the same audience that a comparatively cheaply produced and freely accessible game does, then we can safely assume that something has changed, and chances are good that many of the things we've taken as given in the past can and should be re-examined. I can't say I've ever been too big of a fan of eSports. Competitive gaming generally fills me with an unholy rage and the absolute necessity to begin questioning the matrilineality of those around me. I like playing games, I even like playing games competitively, but as my roommates will tell you, when we get into it in Halo 4, it gets BAD. I learned long ago that spewing hate-filled diatribes at my best friends wasn't too conducive to actually keeping those people as friends. All that said, there is something special about eSports which I've neglected until relatively recently. It's the pageantry, the narrative that really draws people in. I, for example, have been a pretty dedicated Super Smash Bros. Melee player for the past few years. One of my friends is the best in my state, and we used to play quite often, especially when we were still in the dorms at university.  My favorite character for the 12-year-old fighting game/Nintendo circlejerk is Young Link, protagonist of my favorite game, Majora's Mask. But he's a low-tier. Generally considered to pretty damned awful. Then, I saw a match between two of the players in the world -- Armada and Hungrybox -- at a tournament.  Armada is generally a Peach player and Hungrybox exclusively plays Jigglypuff. Both of those characters are in the top tiers for Melee. In quarter-finals, the two squared off and Armada switched from his tried-and-true character to... Young Link. That little kid sitting 11 spots down on the tier list from Peach. It was huge. Stunning. And it gave me an odd sense of connection to the player.  That kind of connection, that narrative is vital for sports to carry any kind of weight with its audience. The struggle of people in some tenuous way connected to you through, typically, geography, is what helps pull audiences in. When two teams square off at the Super Bowl or the World Series, there is so much more there than a few dozen people running around and passing a ball. It's the collective effort of a city and its fans to produce the best team they can and show them off for all the country to see.  Last year, shortly after E3, I was invited by Blizzard to go check out StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm at the MLG Spring Championship. Besides getting to check out HotS, I was expecting a day of annoying eSports fans getting way too excited about things that don't matter. I'm glad to admit that I was wrong. Geography doesn't really lend itself as the primary driver of the all-important narrative of eSports. Instead, who you play matters. Like I mentioned before, seeing Armada win tournaments with Young Link was really inspiring to me. It felt like a validation of my choice, of my character. Similarly with games like StarCraft and LoL, race or champion selection is something that connects players. In time, you'll learn the intricacies and idiosyncratic of your character or faction. It's not something that can be explained to someone who doesn't play, and it's something that outsiders will never really understand. I think, ultimately, that's what separates the modern era of eSports from those that came before. If you play Halo, who can you really get behind? If you watch a competitive match, how are you connecting to the players at the tournament?  With StarCraft, I will always have the back of any Terran player out there. I may not be that great a player, but I can at least understand those who are competing, in a sense, on my behalf because of it. 
Rise of eSports photo
These games are serious business
Leading up the possible PlayStation 4 announcement on February 20, I've been looking into some paradigm shifts we've seen over the past generation. This is stuff that will likely be with us for a while; these are things that ...

eSports photo
eSports

Call of Duty Championship tournament offering up $1M


Activision gets serious with eSports
Feb 01
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Activision is getting serious with eSports as they're hosting their first official major tournament for Black Ops II. The Call of Duty Championship tournament will be taking place in Hollywood, California from April 5 - 7 an...
HotS tournament photo
HotS tournament

Heart of the Swarm to be featured in MLG winter season


New StarCraft II expansion in action
Jan 31
// Patrick Hancock
Though the Heart of the Swarm expansion for StarCraft II is still over a month away, MLG will be featuring the game in its Online Winter Season Showdown beginning on February 4, 2013. Broadcasts will take place eac...
MLG FPS photo
MLG FPS

An MLG-developed FPS is 'inevitable' says CEO


But Major League Gaming in 'no rush' to release game
Jan 29
// Alasdair Duncan
It's interesting to think that the games you find popular as eSports don't specifically start out being made to appeal to pro-gamers. Speaking to the Penny Arcade Report, MLG CEO Sundance DiGiovanni says it is "inevitable" hi...
MLG photo
MLG

PlanetSide 2 competition heats up with MLG partnership


Year-long collaboration between SOE and MLG
Jan 25
// Jordan Devore
Sony Online Entertainment and Major League Gaming have announced a new partnership to bring free-to-play MMO first-person shooter PlanetSide 2 closer to the latter organization's audience of competitive gamers. In the coming ...
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Major League Gaming shows 334% growth in online streaming


11.7 million viewers watched this year
Nov 14
// Dale North
Want proof that eSports and MLG is blowing up? Try a 334 percent year-on-year growth stat for online live streaming video viewers. MLG says that more than 11.7 million unique viewers logged in to watch the MLG Pro Circui...
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MLG Fall Championship takes place in Dallas, Nov. 2-4


Watch online next weekend
Oct 25
// Dale North
Next week, the Major League Gaming 2012 Pro Circuit will wrap up with the MLG Fall Championship in Dallas, Texas, on November 2-4. 1,200 players will fight it out for more than $180,000 in prizes playing games StarC...
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MLG vs. Proleague playoffs begin tonight


The fight for the top eight spots begins!
Oct 19
// Patrick Hancock
For the past month, StarCraft II players have been competing in the MvP, or MLG versus Proleague, a coordinated effort between MLG, KeSPA, and the IEG. Today marks the first day of playoffs, where the top 16 players will...
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MLG's Fall Championship features LoL and $30,000


Oct 09
// Patrick Hancock
If the almost-weekly dose of MLG League of Legends just is not doing it for you, then I have great news. From November 2nd to the 4th, eight teams will compete for a chance at $30,000 worth of prizes during MLG's Fall Ch...
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CS:GO, Dota 2, and LoL part of MLG's GameBattles


Oct 01
// Patrick Hancock
GameBattles, which allows users and teams to sign up and compete in tournaments, is adding Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and League of Legends to its fall lineup of online ladder tournamen...
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MLG announces fall schedule with SCII and LoL aplenty


Sep 25
// Patrick Hancock
The fall season of MLG is about to get underway! Tomorrow will start a non-stop schedule all the way through November, featuring both StarCraft II and League of Legends. Here's a quick breakdown: Tuesdays and Thursdays ...

Review: Astro A50

Sep 17 // Daniel Starkey
Wireless headphones -- hell, wireless products in general -- suffer from lower response times, battery hassles, and generally inferior ... everything. To a degree, this reputation is certainly deserved. In the same way that laptops will always be inferior to desktops in every way but one, so too have peripherals paid the price of convenience. It’s unfortunate, too, because the headphones, especially those meant for home theaters, do not at all lend themselves well to a perpetually tethered environment. For the best comfort, for the best experience, wireless is arguably the ultimate goal. The A50s are incredible in their ability to assuage my general trepidation towards the cordless world. The A50s have a number of design changes over Astro’s bread-and-butter A40 set. The most striking of these is the primarily metal frame. It gives the set an excellent feeling of quality and strength that the plastic-framed A40s lack. Even the Creative Tactics can’t measure up. The cups are lined with a soft, velvet-like fabric -- a welcome change from the leatherette standard. The headstrap is also lined with this material, coating the padding. The microphone sits on the left side, activated only when pulled down in front of the user's face. The other controls, including volume, power, a switch for three different listening modes, and a basic equalizer are jammed into the the outer edge of the right cup. The proximity of each can be a bit confusing at times. So much packed so closely together -- and the simple fact that while gaming, you can’t see any of the components -- can make selecting the wrong setting or bumping something unintentionally an occasional annoyance. Aurally, the A50 is a phenomenal set, packed with rich, booming base, soothingly smooth midtones and crisp highs. The soundscape is huge and open, not unlike Sennheiser HD 650 -- a pair that retails for nearly twice as much. The effect is so notable that I actually had to ask whether they were closed or open-back. My only gripe here is the inability of the set to handle higher volumes. Don’t get me wrong, they sound spectacular at anything that even remotely resembles “safe,” but it is a bit disconcerting to hear their fail conditions. Wireless sets, unlike their tethered relatives, don’t have to cope with amps or absurd amounts of power streaming in because some idiot 20-something wants to be deaf in five years. The positive side of that fickle coin is that, in contrast to the Creative Tactics, you will never encounter a situation where the volume level of the source limits you to to quiet and muted tones -- it will always get louder. Microphone reception and quality is prismatic. Everyone I asked online said I came through very clear without any issues in understanding me. As mentioned before, the mic boom can be flipped up and away from the face to mute -- a simple yet brilliant feature that makes the whole system just a bit more user-friendly. If you’ve used the A40, then you are familiar with the Mixamp, Astro’s term for the base station. It includes a USB port to charge the headset itself as well a a few basic controls to turn the system on and off. Provided with the station is a small plastic tower that acts as both a tray for the station and a rack to set the headphones on when not in use. Unfortunately, for inputs, the system only accepts optical. The set is largely console-focused and both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 natively support TOSLink. If you’re a PC user, you’d be hard pressed to find a cheap, consumer-grade card that would be compatible, but for everyone else, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The final effect, however, is definitely worth the trouble. Because the set only takes optical, Astro thought it would be absurd to compress the the audio stream to the headset as most other wireless sets do. To accomplish this, they used the 5.8 Ghz band, which has the added benefit of being largely free from any form of electromagnetic interference. Astro has been in the business of creating high-end gaming headsets for some time now; building inroads with MLG and other competitive communities has secured their spot as a respected manufacturer. In my experience, however, their products have suffered from lackluster build-quality and a juvenile, ostentatious design. That trend seemed a bit true when they released the A*, a slick, modern reinterpretation of a cell-phone headset. My pair, for example, has survived everything from door jams to being put through a washer and dryer at full heat. While I can’t say with any certainty that the A50s will endure the same punishment, they have given me a bit more confidence in the design and engineering of Astro’s products. At $300, they run on the high-end, but they at least seem to be in the same class as their price would suggest. Gone on are the days of cheap, plastic-y $200 boondoggles. From those ashes have risen a respectable, clean vision of the future of high-end gaming peripherals.
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It doesn't take much to really improve the gaming experience. Better seating, better lighting, better company, etc. are sometimes all it takes to go from an utterly insufferable trek through your simulated world of ...

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MLG League of Legends winners disqualified for collusion


Aug 28
// Alasdair Duncan
Two teams competing in the MLG League of Legends tournament in North Carolina over the weekend have been stripped of their first and second place finishes and their prize money, after the MLG officials decided that "there was...
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MLG Summer Championship is live soon


Aug 24
// Patrick Hancock
Tune in here! MLG Summer Championship will be live very soon with competitions for StarCraft II, Mortal Kombat, SoulCalibur V, and Leage of Legends. Here's a quick rundown of the competition times (EDT) for the weekend:...
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MLG Summer Fighter Arena is live


Aug 10
// Patrick Hancock
Today is a day to be filled with blood and ring outs. MLG's Summer Fighter Arena, containing both Mortal Kombat and SoulCalibur V, has just gone live. Watch it by heading over to the official site. This event is today on...
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MLG Summer Fighting Arena happens Friday


Aug 06
// Patrick Hancock
This upcoming Friday, August 10th, MLG will be hosting a Summer Fighting Arena featuring both Mortal Kombat and SoulCalibur V. The fun begins at 4:00pm Eastern and goes until midnight. I know people will moan and groan b...
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MLG League of Legends Summer Arena wrap-up


Aug 06
// Sterling Aiayla Lyons
This past weekend, Major League Gaming hosted a League of Legends competition, featuring a $10,000 prize, winner take all. Two teams, Curse Gaming and Team Black, won qualifying tournaments beforehand for spots in this compet...
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League of Legends Summer Arena broadcast this weekend!


Aug 02
// Sterling Aiayla Lyons
League of Legends is that massive choo-choo train pulling free-to-play gaming goodness into the competitive sphere. Multiple circuits have been running across the globe, sponsored from not just the game developers themselve...
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TaeJa wins the MLG StarCraft II Summer Arena


Jul 23
// Patrick Hancock
This weekend, TaeJa (Terran) defeated Alicia (Protoss) in the MLG Summer Arena finals to take first place and $10,000! I do feel really bad for Alicia though, since he's come in second three times in a row now. While he's def...
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MLG's StarCraft II Summer Arena is LIVE


Jul 20
// Patrick Hancock
In case you forgot, 32 StarCraft II players from all around the world are competing this weekend at MLG's Summer Arena. There's over $25,000 dollars of prize money at stake, as well as an opportunity to compete at the ML...
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MLG's Summer StarCraft II Arena begins Friday


Jul 16
// Patrick Hancock
First things first: you'll be able to catch the main StarCraft II stream for free! This is actually the first time that MLG has done this, courtesy of Full Sail University. Hooray! In addition to the main stream, there will b...
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MLG Spring Championship: 4.7 million unique online views


Jun 14
// Dale North
Major League Gaming is growing like crazy. The latest event, the MLG Spring Championship, broke all records, drawing the all-time highest number of viewers for any eSports event. The June 8-10 tourney pulled in 4.7 ...

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm will shake things up

Jun 08 // Daniel Starkey
 Each race gets at least two units, and several others get upgrades and new powers. A Blizzard representative said that they focused many of these multiplayer add-ons on giving players defenses against popular tournament strategies, and trying to refocus some of the powers such that players use a broader spectrum while also keeping with the original concept behind each piece.The revisions made to StarCraft II are subtle but game-changing. As I mentioned earlier, everything that was added is designed to very specifically alter how two races interact. For example, one new Zerg unit, the Viper, can grab enemies and pull them to wherever the Viper is. This can have dramatic consequences for Terran players as their siege tanks can be neutralized almost immediately. Protoss can now begin building their mothership earlier, starting with a core before upgrading later in the game. The mothership core has some of the abilities of the full unit, like mass recall. The sheer cost of material for the Protoss often dissuades players from taking risks and this was added to encourage Protoss players to be more aggressive in the early game. Terran players can expect a number of new units and mechanics as well. A new deployable mine, the Widow, can attack both air and ground units, dealing huge splash damage. It is intended as a manner of guarding against unit drops and defensively pushing the border of your territory. There's plenty more than what I've mentioned, but Blizzard wanted to make it clear that this content may be replaced or completely dropped at any time. Additionally, there are a handful of units from the original SCII pantheon that might be removed from the final release. The only unit that was absent in the build that I played, however, was the Protoss Carrier. In addition to all of these unit/mechanic modifications, Blizzard has been working on some game modes and tools to help new players jump in more quickly and old players refine their games. Soon, replays of past games will allow multiple people to watch simultaneously, and pick up and begin playing at any point in time. These are some exciting tweaks, and I can't wait to see how they are used by the community. Unfortunately, the campaign mode wasn't playable tonight, but Blizzard did confirm that they will be releasing more information soon. The closed beta will also be launching sometime in the next month, allowing the team to fine-tune the balance of the new units and figure out how the best strategy (get it?) for moving forward. No word on a release date yet, but then again it is Blizzard, so it probably won't be for another several years. Oh, yeah, and not one word on Ghost yet. They seemed pretty angry when I asked too...
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The Major League Gaming Anaheim Spring Championships are running today through Sunday. At the event, Blizzard was offering the press an opportunity to come in and play a few hours worth of multiplayer matches of the Hear...

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E3: Turtle Beach's SEVEN series, official headset of MLG


Jun 08
// Jayson Napolitano
We got our hands on Turtle Beach’s SEVEN series here at E3, and they sound and feel as good as they look. Billed as their flagship product developed specifically for Major League Gaming, you may be curious to know that ...
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Turtle Beach to develop the official headsets of MLG


May 31
// Dale North
Gaming headset makers Turtle Beach have partnered with Major League Gaming and will be developing the official headsets and audio equipment for the competitive videogame league. The first products to come out of this partners...
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Violet battles Zerg, sickness to take first at MLG


May 21
// Patrick Hancock
MLG Spring Arena 2 was this past weekend and saw the first Zerg vs. Zerg (ZvZ) finals in a long time. In fact, the top three players all played Zerg. One of the matches in the championship match even went past 30 minutes, a r...
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MLG Spring Arena 2 airing NOW!


May 18
// Patrick Hancock
Did you happen to catch Spring Arena the first? DongRaeGu took home first place and a check for $5,000 for his excellent Zerg play. Spring Arena 2 kicks off today and, just as before, you'll need to own either a Spring Season...

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